We spent some time with two of our favourite Melbourne based film makers, Grace + Andrew of Bottlebrush Films. This duo have been responsible for some iconic wedding films. They create eclectic, fresh, cinematic, documentary style stories. They are shaking up the wedding film industry and we love it! The couple have been living the dream travelling and filming the very best weddings throughout Australia, New Zealand and further abroad. They talk to us about the new world we have found ourselves in and what it means for weddings and wedding films. We can’t wait to have them back in New Zealand once restrictions are lifted. And in the meantime we will watch in a state of awe (with a glass of top-notch gin) as they create from across the ditch in their home country of Australia.
Let’s talk about your film work first of all, how did you get into it? What is your style like? And do you only shoot weddings?
Like most creatives in our industry we fell into weddings by accident! We met in Film School at RMIT and spent two years pashing each other in the corner of random Melbourne bars after whatever dodgy student shoot we’d worked on that week *there may have been lots of bevvies involved*. During our final year Andrew was looking for paid work as a Cinematographer and one of our mates got him a gig at a local wedding video factory (300 weddings/year – great place to practise!)
Andrew loved it, started shooting his mate’s weddings for fun, but was shite at editing – so Grace stepped in and started editing these films. The rest, as they say, is a messy business launched by two film students who sketched a floral brand logo in their hipster share house.
We also both spent a bit of time in other industries as we built up Bottlebrush. Grace freelanced at places like World Vision & worked at Ad Agency Cummins&Partners as a Junior Editor cutting TV Commercials and other content, and Andrew freelanced as a Cinematographer & Live-TV Director at ABC, but the creative fulfillment of weddings fast became our Number One Love. We were both desperate to be our own bosses, to take charge of our own time & lives – we’ve never loved 9 to 5 so working for ourselves was always (and still is) the dream.
We’ve become known for having a pretty eclectic style, a lot claim to make unique films but we feel like we live that with our goal being to ‘ensure no two films are the same’ (just like no two couples are). Our couples tell us they love that we can do the quirky, the heartfelt, the raving parties and the raving mad all equally well, because not all couples fit the romantic cheesy stereotypes of most wedding films. It takes a lot of effort in the Edit Suite (or Grace’s ‘Nerd Cave’ as she calls it) and years of refining your craft, but we’re proud to say we celebrate what makes each couple and style of wedding totally one-of-a-kind-blow-your-mind.
What does the changing wedding landscape mean for film? And why is it even more important than ever?
For us personally, I think Covid has helped shine a light on what’s really important in life. It always comes back to people – your friends, family and your relationship with your partner (and good gin – duh) and that’s always worth celebrating.
I think pre-Covid more and more couples were starting to see how valuable Wedding Videos were becoming, and I think that only takes on more gravity now that we’ve all been separated at some stage and in some way from those that we care about most. To an extent a lot of us were starting to take our lives for granted – we surely were – so Covid has bought the conversation back to what your core values, needs and wants are. We don’t need a lot to be happy, and that’s a new discovery for a lot of folks in 2020. While a lot of couples have understandably had to postpone their wedding, an equal amount have now decided wedding videography is a must-have for their day when previously it wasn’t a priority, because at the end of it all your film captures your memories & loved ones best, and is the one tangible thing that you take home from your wedding (aside from your partner haha).
What are you personally doing as a brand to harness these new opportunities and to help couples?
Covid has certainly inspired us to think outside the box and figure out ways to still be there for our couples, so we’ve started doing some Livestreams of Covid-affected wedding ceremonies, and they’re so much fun (for us AND them!!). People are able to still share in such an electric moment, plus the couple get a record of their ceremony for replay afterwards. My personal favourite is reading the live chat, and seeing how much it means to all of the people in that couple’s world to still be connected during such a huge moment. That’s the beauty of film, even if you can’t physically be there a film with it’s sound, vision, movement & music can make you feel like you were, and that’s storytelling at it’s best! We’re also reframing our thinking when it comes to smaller wedding and elopements, and we love the creative possibilities they can bring (like this Bonfire Elopement of Gaby and Kate:
Just because a wedding isn’t big doesn’t mean it has to be any less incredible and creative, it now gives couples a chance to really focus on themselves and look at what it means to promise your life to another, and you don’t need hoards of people to do that – just two.
Whats the best thing about your job?
Creating something that will outlive and outlast all of us (please read that line again in your best blockbuster movie trailer voice). Our films will be meaningful to people that don’t even exist yet! We’d kill to have been able to watch our grandparent’s wedding film, I couldn’t even imagine being able to see my nana at 22 walking down the aisle, saying obscene things with a drink in hand and dancing the night away. This is why you’ll see photos of our families scattered throughout our website, their stories and history is what inspires us to tell the stories of others! Our own VHS home videos from the 90’s are so incredible to watch back and it’s amazing just to see how our parents were back in the day. Again that’s the value of film, you get to see how someone moved, how they spoke & how they showed their love through those things.
What do you predict for the future and our new kind of normal once the COVID dust settles?
Certainly smaller celebrations will become the norm and way more popular, and I think couples won’t worry about the things that don’t matter to them so much. Perhaps more unique celebrations that are truly tailored to the people getting hitched, not to what the couple think their guests would prefer! A lot of couples we’ve filmed have voiced wanting smaller weddings but feeling like they couldn’t cut people from the guest list, so hopefully our post-covid world will make it more socially acceptable for weddings to scale back in numbers & bring it back to the core of what getting married is all about.
Any advice you can give to couples and industry people for the now and the future?
Don’t expect anything to stay the same, if 2020 has taught us anything it has to be that!! The world is changing and you can either sit in dread and say ‘woe is me’ or you can change with it, innovate and start adapting to your new lifestyle – take it as a challenge to reinvent yourself if nothing else. Or screw that – just take a break, be okay with your life slowing down and revel in the much needed pause, throw out your rule book because 2020 has burnt it to the ground already. At the end of the day just be sure to invest in good gin, don’t be drinking the cheap stuff in isolation you’re worth it you know?